Optical Express was the first company I physically visited for a laser eye surgery consultation and it was the last. Following on from ‘How I came to choose Optical Express for Laser Eye Surgery’ I did have an initial online consultation with Optegra too. I was also considering Optimax but as I had a great consultation with Optical Express this did not go any further than the initial thought.

In this blog, I will be sharing all the details behind my laser eye surgery consultation. This will hopefully give you a good understanding of what to expect on the day of your consultation. Although my consultation was with Optical Express, I do believe the outline of the visit would be the same for other companies; eye examinations, eye tests and a real feel for the company. The laser eye surgery consultation is where you find out if your eyes are suitable for laser eye treatment. For this reason, the idea of the appointment can be quite daunting.

Essentials for the Laser Eye Surgery Consultation

I booked my laser eye surgery consultation online and received a phone call shortly after to confirm the date and time of the appointment. Optical Express then sent a follow up email with the specifics.

Key things to know/bring for the laser eye surgery consultation:

  1. It is recommended not to drive after your consultation. This is because the optometrist will use eye drops that will make your vision blurry and light sensitive. I did not have this issue but it is better to be safe than sorry so ensure to make alternative arrangements for your journey.
  2. Sunglasses also are required given the above eye drops but again, I did not need this at this point. They will definitely be needed after your surgery though!
  3. Do not wear contact lenses for 24 hours prior to your appointment.
  4. You will need to bring your latest prescription with you as well as the glasses you currently wear. If you follow step 3, you should be wearing these on the day anyway unless you do not need glasses all the time.
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Laser Eye Surgery Consultation – Arriving

Step 1, turn up. I did say I will be giving all the details and the first thing I had to do was naturally to arrive for the appointment. My appointment was at the Birmingham Crossway clinic on 14th November 2020 (before the move to Corporation Street). If you do not already know, I have always lived in Birmingham besides during university/my placement year. That being said, this clinic was extremely difficult to find and there was no nearby parking either. This resulted in lots of panic and phone calls with the receptionist.

In the end, I did manage to find the clinic. The receptionist was extremely helpful and even met me outside in the rain. I also spoke to the optician on the phone and she was lovely but stressed the importance of being on time. Fortunately for me, my appointment was rearranged for an earlier time in the day so I did have more time in my favour. Others may not be as lucky and could get turned away so do make sure you are on time.

You may be thinking, “Jag this is too detailed – please just get to the good stuff”. The reason I am mentioning this is because I want to paint the picture of how I formed a good first impression of Optical Express.

Eye Examinations to expect during your Laser Eye Surgery Consultation

During your consultation you will be expected to have a series of eye examinations/scans. At some points I did feel as though I was being passed around from person to person for each examination. Each optician I came across was very pleasant and friendly. This aspect of the consultation reminded me of the negative reviews I had read about Optical Express. Many people comment that Optical Express only want your money and I can see how this can be felt. However, the consultation is limited in time and I do feel this was needed to be efficient.

Disclaimer: I am definitely not an optician. Therefore, I will be providing very basic descriptions of the scans. I did also ask the opticians for further details so that is as technical as it will get.

Scan 1 – Blue Light

The first scan can be seen in the video at the bottom of this post. The purpose of this is to assess the cornea including the thickness. The scan will check the cornea for any bumps.

Scan 2 – Hot Air Balloon

The optician informed me that the technical term for this is the Autorefractor. You will see a hot air balloon with one eye at a time. Initially the hot air balloon is completely clear but then after this it loses focus and becomes blurry.

Essentially what this is doing is showing your eyesight corrected and then uncorrected. This is meant to be your vision before and after laser eye surgery.

Scan 3 – Air Sprayer/Puff Test

The final assessment was a test for glaucoma using the non-traditional tonometer. Again with one eye at a time your eyes will be assessed. This one feels very weird and it feels as though water or something is getting squired/sprayed in your eyes. In actual fact it is only air and is meant to test the resistance of your eye/eye pressure.

Eye Test during your Laser Eye Surgery Consultation

Following the eye scans/examinations I then went in to meet the optician. She was extremely welcoming, friendly and clearly very knowledgeable. One very good tip she gave was to avoid rubbing your eyes as it thins you cornea and can lead to eye issues at a younger age than anticipated. This part of the consultation literally felt like a normal eye test. I read the letters, stated which dots and colours looked clearer, etc. The drops mentioned above were then put into my eyes and these help to assess how dry your eyes are.

The optician then reviewed my scans to see whether my eyes were suitable for laser eye surgery. Thankfully, I was (shock). As stated in Growing up with Glasses I have scarring on my eye from childhood. This led to being recommended LASEK surgery. This was a great opportunity to ask any questions I had. One example was asking about the iDesign technology and how it compares to others. I have touched on this in my first laser eye surgery blog as well as provided more details about LASEK/LASIK surgery.

To answer my question, the iDesign rectifies 1,200 points of the eye whereas Wavefront only around 200-250 points. Additionally, I was also reassured about the effectiveness of the laser treatment. Given my high prescription of around -5 I was told it is still likely I will achieve 20/20. The optician also assigned me to the same Optical Express surgeon as her sister in law who had a successful treatment.

£500 Deposit

At this point I was tempted to go with Optical Express because of their iDesign technology and the great consultation. I did think to wait until after the in person Optegra consultation before making a decision. However, I also did not want to waste time so I decided to go for it. To secure a date of laser eye surgery you need to pay a deposit of £500. Please be aware of the refund terms before paying this deposit. Reviews online do imply that Optical Express only care about taking your money. Conversely, I did not feel forced to pay the deposit. The consultant was very patient and gave me all the time I needed to make my decision.

As mentioned, my consultation was 14th November 2020 and the earliest surgery date available was 19th December 2020. I did not expect it to be this quick but the timing seemed perfect. I will be writing a blog on how to plan for laser eye surgery so join my journey to find out more!

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£300 Referral Voucher

Note: If you would like to use the £300 friends/family referral voucher to get this off your total treatment cost you must present this during the consultation. Fortunately I did have one but the bar code was unfortunately this was not loading in the email at the time. I was able to give this code at a later date when paying for the treatment. This is most likely because at the consultation I was able to show I had the email.

If you do not have a friend who can provide you with the £300 off voucher, I am happy to be that friend! Please send me your full name to jagsjourneyblog@gmail.com and I will send you a voucher or drop your full name and email in the comments below. It is that easy.

Post Consultation, Pre Surgery

After going ahead with the booking I was booked in for a telephone call for the following Friday. I was also given some forms which I needed to talk through on this call, sign and take with me to my laser eye surgery.

Immediately after the consultation I was emailed my advanced eye care report from the scans. There was also an email to thank me for choosing Optical Express. Between the consultation and the surgery, there were quite a few emails and texts received from Optical Express.

That following Friday I was not contacted at all. I actually had no communication with Optical Express after that Friday until I called them. This was quite concerning at the time especially after reading the negative reviews. I did think maybe they have taken my money and left. However, that was not the case and when I spoke to them to flag this they handled this very well. See the video from 1:08 below to find out more about the phone call. This was not the only time Optical Express messed up my appointment bookings by the way.

There is not much more to it except you should avoid wearing contact lenses before laser eye surgery. The minimum recommended time I was given was one week. However, I had them out for a month as the longer is said to be better. Find out why here.

If you found this post helpful feel free to comment and share – join my journey to find out more. You do not want to miss the blog on my recovery!

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